Liberal Arts Building

200 Stanger St.
Performing Arts Building
Performing Arts Building

The Liberal Arts Building, formerly the Performing Arts Building, is an academic building used by the School of Performing Arts and Cinema and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The Black Box Theatre is on the second floor and is used primarily for student-run workshop productions.

Building History

Two students thought during the 1894-1895 term that (then) V.P.I. should have a Young Men's Christian Association Building and they set about to make it happen. A effort to raise funds was started; about two years into the project, Mr. Lawrence Priddy became involved and from then on the project was almost entirely his responsibility. In a 1913 report on the history of the building, it was stated that, "without his tireless energy the work could not have gone on." Priddy worked to raise subscriptions and donations for the construction, so that, according to the report, "In the spring of 1899 the plans for the building were prepared by Mr. W. F. West, an architect of Richmond, Virginia, and were finally adopted, after Mr. Priddy had obtained the advice and suggestions of the leading authorities on Y. M. C. A. work in this country. At the time the design was considered a model for a college Y. M. C. A. Building.

In the spring of 1900, with appropriate and imposing ceremonies, the cornerstone was laid in the presence of a large body of interested spectators. The speakers on this occasion were Dr. R. S. McArthur, the noted divine of New York; Dr. J. M. McBryde, the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute; and Mr. Lawrence Priddy, of New York, whom Dr. McArthur characterized as "the most consistent, persistent, and insistent beggar I have ever seen."

The building was pushed to rapid completion by Mr. Wesley Gray, the contractor, being built of native limestone [known today as Hokie Stone] and trimmed with sandstone brought from Ohio. With the exception of the trimming, all the building material came from the State of Virginia." (Bulletin of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, October 1913, Volume VI, No. 4, pp. 44-46)

The YMCA offices moved out in 1937, and the building was known as the Military Building until the late 1960s when it became the Student Personnel Building. It was named the Performing Arts Building in the 1970s. That name was later changed to the Liberal Arts Building.

The YMCA in 1972 deeded any interest it had in the building to Virginia Tech as part of the university’s centennial observances.